In addition to making Environmental Studies a very vital subject in our syllabus, St. Xavier’s College has gone a step further by putting that theory into practice. It is with great pride that we announce that thanks to the installation of three sets of solar panels, we now have a few parts of our college that run entirely on solar energy.
Solar energy is the energy present in sunlight, which if harnessed by solar panels can be converted into electric energy and be used to replace the electricity that runs on fossil fuels, a rapidly depleting non renewable source of energy and one that causes severe pollution. Three sets of such panels have been installed in our campus, one in 2004, another in 2010 and the latest in early 2013. The latest Solar Plant was installed on the roof of the Library building by Thermax India Pvt Ltd and sponsored by the State Bank of India, with a Government of India subsidy. The earlier ones were on the hostel terraces. The computers in our Cyber laboratory, used for student and faculty access to the internet, are run exclusively on the solar energy acquired from the panel on the hostel terrace. The earliest solar plant was to provide energy to heat a 4000 litres water tank on the hostel terrace. This water is then provided in the bathrooms of the hostel floors, serving the needs of the 60 hostelites, as well as being supplied to the college canteen kitchen. This reduces the wastage of electricity on geysers for bathing and gas on boiling water for cooking. The solar panel on the Hall/Library building provides electricity to the lecture rooms, the Reference Library and the Hall. It is interconnected with the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) line, which supplements the solar plant when necessary.
Though the solar energy installation is a huge investment, it is a permanent solution to the environmental problem. It is an eco friendly alternative and also cuts down on electricity bills. Professor Rajendra Shinde, Vice Principal of the Science Faculty says, “India is a country that receives plenty of sunlight, it is a shame that it all goes to waste. The country should benefit from this and opt for solar energy instead.”
But this is not the only environment-friendly initiative taken by our college. A vermiculture pit for raw vegetable waste and a bio-composting plant for kitchen waste, a bore well for non-potable water for use in toilets and
gardens to reduce consumption of municipal potable water, rainwater harvesting to replenish and improve the quality of the well water, opting for electronic chokes and CFL bulbs and the segregation of waste into recyclable and non recyclable, are the other ways in which St. Xavier’s attempts to create a clean-green atmosphere in college. At a time of such environmental crisis, it is the need of the hour to adopt such environmentally conscious approaches and reduce our carbon footprint as much as we can. With its green initiatives, St. Xavier’s once again leads by example.